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Adams calls for “newfound maturity” in bike community

Posted by on October 17th, 2008 at 11:17 am

Rose Quarter opening celebration-10
Commissioner Adams at the
opening ceremony yesterday.
(Photo © J. Maus)

In a blog post published yesterday, City Commissioner and Mayor-elect Sam Adams wrote that with each new innovation the city rolls out for bicyclists, “our bicycle community assumes more responsibility as well”.

“As we make continued investments in our street system to accommodate bikes, it is imperative that our bike community respond with responsible behavior. No excuses.”

Adams added that,

“with strong support of the BTA,” he has asked the Portland Police Bureau to “adopt a no discretion/zero-tolerance policy for red light running (applicable to all modes) through the Rose Quarter Transit Center”

Adams is well-aware of the perception among many Portlanders (outside the bike bubble) that feel bicyclists do not obey laws as much as they should. He realizes (as do I), that in order to continue to make the kind of innovations to improve biking that are yet to come, we must acknowledge the PR battle as well.

His words are a pre-emptive strike in the battle for the hearts and minds of the City of Portland. If a large chunk of our population sees bike riders as erratic, scofflaws who don’t think rules apply to them, it means that needed bike projects, and sensible bike policies will be harder to push through.

Here’s how Adams ends his piece (emphasis mine):

“Portland’s bicycle community has blossomed in dramatic ways over last few years. With the growth comes newfound maturity. It is my hope and expectation that my friends in the bike community will self-police. In the Rose Quarter Transit Center. And everywhere.”

I agree with Adams’ call for good behavior, but I would add that the “growth” he speaks of his still a drop in the bucket when compared to the money spent, level-of-service given to, and facilities available for other modes.

I’m ready to mature and ride more responsibly, and I will. But let’s not think a few thousand dollars in green paint will lead to cyclists suddenly behaving perfectly in a system still largely built for motor vehicles.

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Comments
  • red hippie October 17, 2008 at 11:22 am

    So when I rode through the transit center yesterday at 6 pm, Portland Police had a couple units on williams by the roase garden pulling over drivers. What is going on, and how does that tie into the new transit center?

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  • kgb October 17, 2008 at 11:32 am

    I agree with this completely.

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  • brewcaster October 17, 2008 at 11:36 am

    This is awesome. AMEN.

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  • cyclist October 17, 2008 at 11:53 am

    Red Hippie: It sounds like they’re running an enforcement action in the area to make sure that everybody is doing what they’re supposed to be doing. So long as enforcement actions penalize any road user (bike or car) that commits an infraction, I’m fine with it.

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  • Brian Johnson October 17, 2008 at 11:59 am

    Jonathan, you make a good point in the last couple of paragraphs.

    However, I feel that you’re presenting a sort of “Catch 22″ mentality among cyclists:
    We won’t behave until the infrastructure improves. The infrastructure won’t improve until cyclists behave.

    I tend to agree that we all need to grow up and behave like traffic. We ARE traffic. Despite how I feel about bike lanes and obeying unoccupied stop signs/signals, I think that most cyclists need to stop riding like they’re the only users out there.

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  • Dave October 17, 2008 at 12:03 pm

    I think as you said, with better behavior on the part of cyclists, we will start seeing more money spent, more level of service given to and facilities available for bikes, because more people will be ready to agree to it.

    I don’t think peoples’ perception of cyclists in Portland is totally unfounded, and in a place where people are just starting to get used to bikes as a normal mode of transportation and part of traffic, I think what we do is more visible (just like we notice bad driving habits of people from other places more than we notice bad driving habits of people from our town, because we aren’t used to them).

    For that reason, I think those of us out on bikes do have some responsibility to make a real effort to behave well on the roads, if we want to become a more accepted demographic. I think we have to have the attitude that we should start behaving better, without the expectation that we need to see people catering to us first.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 17, 2008 at 12:08 pm

    “I feel that you’re presenting a sort of “Catch 22″ mentality among cyclists:
    We won’t behave until the infrastructure improves. The infrastructure won’t improve until cyclists behave.”

    Brian,

    i’m not saying “we won’t behave until the infrastructure improves”. I’m saying it’s unreasonable to expect the same level and type of compliance as other modes (cars) when bikes are not on equal footing from an infrastructural and cultural standpoint.

    of course we’ll improve compliance and behavior… but society simply cannot expect that because now a lot more people are biking, and PDOT has painted some boxes on the ground that, voila!!, all bikers should have everything they need to behave in an orderly, predictable manner.

    fact is, many people who bike still face a system that leaves them scared, unsure of how to act, and yes…results in low compliance — whether intentional or done for reasons of survival/confusion.

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  • maxadders October 17, 2008 at 12:11 pm

    I think it’s silly when people– politicians, advocates, blog commenters– allude to this “community” that only exists for people that are 1) aware of such a thing and 2) actively agreeing and participating in this thing.

    People will take care of themselves, first and foremost. Next time I run a red light I’m not going to think about how it might impact the public (read: anti-bike auto drivers) perception of cyclists. I’m going to be asking the much more important “is this safe for me?” Just like the guy who doesn’t read bike blogs, doesn’t identify with other cyclists, doesn’t have the time to attend parades to celebrate the opening of three blocks worth of bike lane.

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  • joe October 17, 2008 at 12:16 pm

    interesting comments from Sam.

    I suppose there should be no more roads built until cars stop speeding as well.

    no more truck licenses granted until right hooks stop.

    I spent a week in amsterdam in Sept. Riding a bike everywhere I went, I cannot remember any stop signs – granted, it took a minute to get used to the free flowing riding style. But, we have green paint.

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  • bahueh October 17, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    I think Sam’s right on..why should a city spend additional funds to help bring awareness to “right hook” situations when cyclists themselves aren’t obeying basic traffic laws by enlarge…

    as for comparisons to Amsterdam or any other european city…this ISN’T Amsterdam..there is no comparison. their laws are different, their culture is different, their expectations are different…

    and Maus you’re again hinting towards the idea that riders dont’ see stop signs…when each and every one of them has known what a stop sign is since they were probably about 4 years old…people aren’t confused about stopping at Ladd’s or 34th and SE Harrison…they aren’t confused about the intersections on Interstate or Broadway….

    they simply don’t care to stop. I totally suppot Adams stance..and really folks, is it that much to be asked to play friendly in return for what he’s trying to do?

    turning our alliances and friends against the community doesn’t seem to be what everyone here is working for…
    but by all means, please, shoot yourself in the foot….

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  • k. October 17, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Sam’s points are completely valid whether you want to quibble with details or not. I know a lot of bike commuters and advocates who have been saying this for quite a while. It’s high time the bike community here moves past the Zoo Bomber stage of development.

    And to “maxadders”; for political purposes we are a community, whether everyone in it realizes it or not. For better or worse that’s the reality of the way our society works. We could do worse then work at getting the uninvolved and disenfranchised members to at least become aware, however nominally.

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  • resident October 17, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    I recognize and respect all the red lights that recognize me, which after you get out of the metered lights in the central city, are very few. If I have to wait for a car to join me for the light to change…well you get the picture!

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  • Milton October 17, 2008 at 12:44 pm

    “But let’s not think a few thousand dollars in green paint will lead to cyclists suddenly behaving perfectly in a system still largely built for motor vehicles.” – J. Maus

    He’s not asking for “perfect”. He’s just asking us to obey the law.

    Are you intimating that the city should build a separate self contained system for bikes before it can expect acceptance of the traffic laws?

    If bikes and cars were completely separate, then there would be no need to follow the car laws. Until then, I think it would only be rational/reasonable for cyclists to follow the traffic regulations.

    I am a great believer that nature has a way of controlling the heedless red light runners in the traffic ecosystem. The bike usually loses.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 17, 2008 at 12:57 pm

    “He’s not asking for “perfect”. He’s just asking us to obey the law.”

    obviously perfect is not attainable..it’s just a word I used to make a point.

    “Are you intimating that the city should build a separate self contained system for bikes before it can expect acceptance of the traffic laws?”

    of course not. but what I’m saying is that when PDOT spends 0.7% of its capital budget on bike infrastructure, the result is that we have a system that is woefully inequitable for bike riders.

    we have to keep that in mind when we talk about enforcement and compliance issues.

    for example… what’s one of the big beefs you hear folks bring up about scofflaw bikers? Going the wrong way on the sidewalk.

    why do many bikers go the wrong way on the sidewalk? often, it’s done because they cannot safely cross the street they’ve come to because there’s no bike-specific infrastructure to help them do so.

    that is just one example.

    Folks… I am not making excuses for breaking the law… but I am saying that overall, the general, law-abiding behavior of cyclists will go up as the system becomes more equitable.

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  • Krampus October 17, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Jonathan Maus :( I don’t get what you mean with “But let’s not think a few thousand dollars in green paint will lead to cyclists suddenly behaving perfectly in a system still largely built for motor vehicles.”

    Such weird verbiage from the writer of this site (a site which I love!) I don’t think Sam is saying because there is green paint in the Rose Quarter cyclists must obey the laws. I think he’s saying cyclists should obey the laws period, and as long as you do that (and the sooner you do that) the easier and more willing/able the city will be to finance further bicycle projects.

    PS: Jonathan, you should’ve made a post about the bikepdx code for New Seasons delivery… I had no idea they even delivered! I bet your other readers would be interested to know as well. :)

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 17, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Krampus,

    i was speaking in a larger context, not specifically about the Rose Quarter….perhaps I chose words poorly (it happens sometimes).

    “a few thousand dollars in green paint”, was a reference to the small amount of money spent on bikes in general (a point I’ve made in comments above).

    my point was that we can’t think a little investment in bike infrastructure and a statement from Sam will be enough to equal the level of traffic law compliance we should (one day) expect from cyclists.

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  • Velo Vanguard October 17, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    What a ridiculous double-standard. See #9.

    So, all of you who agree with Sam’s sentiment are already obeying the laws, right? I’d love to hear your plans for “self-policing” the people running red lights and riding without lights.

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  • Brot October 17, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    I’m most intrigued by my own internal struggle to obey traffic laws on my bike. I mean, I have never been a red light in my car and decided that I could go through it because it was absolutely safe to do so. But that’s the calculus I find myself performing when on my bike. I think the (partial) solution is that, when it comes to places like the Rose Quarter, it’s never absolutely safe to run a light, even if you think it is. There are too many different modes of transportation interacting there. Also, I was disappointed to see some of my fellow cyclists riding through the area yesterday and aggressively riding by pedestrians who were crossing against the signal. The instantaneous sense of entitlement to those green lanes was remarkable. This is exactly how some drivers treat cyclists that may be riding outside of a lane or against a light. There’s no need for it because the aggression only creates danger. Maybe Sam’s just asking us to take the high road every time.

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  • Allan October 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    Resident- I totally agree with you. If the light doesnt appear to be turning and there’s noone around, I’m going. Hands down.

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  • Tim October 17, 2008 at 1:51 pm

    When I visited Portland I was shocked at the amount of cyclists who were following traffic laws.

    You could tell that the vast majority of Portland Bicyclists think of themselves as vehicle operators which is not how most cyclists nationwide think of themselves.

    In my hometown most still think of themselves as pedestrians and that everyone should yield to them at every stop light they run and every cross walk they shoot across at 15 mph.

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  • Graham October 17, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    As always happens when I hear about the Portland’s irritation with lawless cyclists, I get a little bugged by the lack of proportionality inherent in the outcry.

    Yes, there are some fools on bikes who blow stops in a dangerous manner. When I’m driving, and a cyclist blows a stop right in front of me, it sets off all sorts of anger-inducing alarm bells. But what the deliberate law-breaking of that cyclist could to me in my car is nothing compared to what I could do to him, even with a perfectly innocent lapse of attention on my part.

    The simple fact, though – that I think both Sam and Jonathan are being very clear-eyed about – is that cyclists in Portland have an unprecedented visibility and impact because of our new-found numbers. However welcome, this explosion of cycling is a shock to the city’s system, and the city just isn’t used to it yet.

    I mean, think about what we have become used to in the form of car traffic: massive machines, each a hundred times the weight of a human, able to move faster than the fastest animal, and if you get in their way you’re smushed. Imagine dropping a character from Little House on the Prairie on a sidewalk next to SE 39th avenue during rush hour. They’d wet themselves with fear. Yet we’re so at home with the phenomenon of car traffic – not least because we’re so enamored of its upsides of speed, power and convenience – that we’ll stand mere feet from these things as they whiz past, trusting that their drivers won’t sneeze or be digging for their phone and veer into us.

    Now, there’s waaaaay more of these machines on the road than bikes, and they’re waaaay more deadly than bikes, yet it’s bikes that cause all the hullabaloo?

    It’s OK though, I get it, politicians have to engage with whatever has their constituents in a tizzy, and today it’s those dreadful, lawless cyclists. And politicians have to deal in disproportionally powerful symbols. Which is why from now until November we’ll be hearing a million times more about Joe the ****ing Plumber than we will about millions – plumbers or otherwise – who can’t find work. Because we can’t grasp a million. Plumbers, we get.

    So I see where Sam is coming from. But there’s one other thing: In addressing the “bicycle community” I feel like Sam is talking to me, because these days I mostly bike everywhere. So when he asks the bike community to show more maturity, I feel like he’s implying I’m immature.

    Here’s where I’m coming from, Sam: I’ve come to recognize the “car community” as destructive, whether it’s to the atmosphere, the community, or just to anyone unlucky enough to get in the way of a car. (I live on a quiet street where there’s a lot of little kids, yet cars blow through here at dangerous speeds. Just last night I was talking to the neighbors about how we’re all just bracing ourselves for when a little kid gets hit by a car.) So as much as possible I’m opting out of the car community: I live near stores, and I work from home. I recently got cargo racks so that I can carry groceries on my bike, and fenders and rain gear so that I can keep riding into the winter. I don’t particularly like riding in the rain. It’s uncomfortable, and in the rain I feel even more vulnerable to attack from the cars that surround me on the road. (Cars which, by the way, ALSO run stop signs on a regular basis.)But I’m going to do it anyway, not only for my own good, but for the good of the community, and anything else that breathes a little easier with one less car on the road. I think that’s why a lot of other Portlanders ride our bikes.

    Not to be all self-righteous or anything, but I think that’s pretty dang mature of us.

    So Sam, here’s what I would ask of you: on the assumption that all Portland road users are more or less mature grownups who differ only on our choice of transportation, I would ask that you mediate fairly and evenly, between all parties that use the roads. Maybe you’re already doing this, and I’m not aware of it, but what I mean is, now that you’ve made this statement to cyclists, turn around and say to your car driving constituents: hey folks, I know you’re bugged by some of these crazy cyclists, but: 1) the highly visible outlaws aren’t representative of all bikers, 2) I know they’re irritating, but remember they’re not the real danger on the road, 3) more cycling is better any way you slice it because it cleans the air, reduces road wear, frees up parking spaces, and makes Portland the envy of the nation 4) you’ve got to do your part too, by slowing down, dialing down the aggression behind the wheel, hanging up the phone, actually stopping before you turn right-on-red, or before you’re half way across the restraining line.

    It comes down to this: people on bikes use a tiny fraction of the roads, and however annoying they might be to people in cars, bikes pose a tiny fraction of the danger posed by cars.

    Good lord, this comment is twice as big as Jonathan’s original post. Sorry about that. I always mean to be concise, but then… I drink coffee. Caffeine + indignation = blahdeeblahdeeblah.

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  • Joe October 17, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    you hit it on the head with this!

    Jonathan Maus (Editor)
    for example… what’s one of the big beefs you hear folks bring up about scofflaw bikers? Going the wrong way on the sidewalk.

    why do many bikers go the wrong way on the sidewalk? often, it’s done because they cannot safely cross the street they’ve come to because there’s no bike-specific infrastructure to help them do so

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  • poser October 17, 2008 at 2:16 pm

    Sam’s just confronting very obvious PR problem that we cyclists have here in Portland. Heck, he has the same PR problem being the obviously bike-friendly politician that he is. But it is just that, a PR problem. There’s no real public safety concern that we face with all the red-light and stop-sign runners in p-town.

    #9 spells that out quite succinctly. Why isn’t Sam stopping funds on building infrastructure for cars until they reign in speeders? Excessive speed in automobiles accounts for what…? More than 20,000 deaths in the US every year? And what is it, 90%+ of drivers regularly speed? How many Americans die every year running stop-signs and red-lights? Tens? Hundreds maybe? How many people are killed by cyclists who run stop-signs and red-lights? I’ll bet I could count that number on one hand.

    And yet I’ve certainly never been at a social gathering in Portland and heard a group of people get frothy at the mouth about “those damn scofflaw speeders”. What a bunch of hypocrites – including those of us who buy into that myth. Why aren’t you all as aggressive doing something about a method of transportation that actually does cause a public safety hazard?

    The American marketing machine has hammered into all of us since birth that cars = freedom. It’s like we’re completely unable to think about automobiles in any other way. Sam’s press conference is just proof that even he and his people are unable to shake that mind-set. That, or he’s accepted the fact that too many Portlanders are still under the spell of Detroit, and it would be a political disaster not to pander to the bovines.

    I agree with Jonathan. In relative terms, we’ve been thrown a few scraps – but we’re often treated as if we’re some special class that holds too much power over local government. When you look at the numbers, that’s not even close to true, and I’m glad to see Jonathan call bullsh*t on the whole farce.

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  • joeb October 17, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    My education came from BikePortland. Last summer I realized the PR that was needed with drivers, pedestrians and neighborhood residents and started obey all traffic control devices. At first I was almost embarrassed stopping at a signed 4-way with nobody in sight, but it quickly became a habit where I am now uncomfortable not stopping.

    Last week I listened to a bus driver and passenger moaning about bikers thinking they own the road. I wanted to contribute that cars do not own the road either, but didn’t butt in. It seems there is a ways to go for the majority of people to feel that bikes are part of the transportation solution. That is why while riding I attempt to demonstrate that I am traffic, I am transporting myself to my destination on my perfectly suited SOV, and I am doing so without obstructing or interfering with other road users by following the rules.

    And I’m not that guy parked in front of you in a car that is forcing you to sit through three signal cycles.

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  • BURR October 17, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    so when is Adam’s going to require that PDOT’s engineering meet this same standard, and fix all of those right-hook door-zone bike lanes with something better than those ridiculous green boxes we’ve been treated to so far?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 17, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    “we’ve been thrown a few scraps – but we’re often treated as if we’re some special class that holds too much power over local government.”

    poser,

    i agree. and this misperception is exactly what you see in the words of some bike-ignorant (or just anti-bike) local journalists and commenters on their stories.

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  • BURR October 17, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    actually, I don’t believe there is any such thing as ‘the wrong way’ on a sidewalk.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) October 17, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    “actually, I don’t believe there is any such thing as ‘the wrong way’ on a sidewalk.”

    technically you are correct. sidewalks don’t have direction in the law….but the point is still that people perceive “wrong way” whether it’s legal or not (and police reports/investigations and court cases definitely take it into account).

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  • matt picio October 17, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    Jonathan (#14) – minor nitpick: I understand that people don’t like cyclists riding the “wrong way” on the sidewalk, but “wrong way” is a misnomer – all sidewalks are bi-directional. There is no such thing as the “wrong way” on a sidewalk. (I’m using a very narrow definition of sidewalk – I’m not including multi-use paths, which *are* directional – the Hawthorne bridge falls in this category) Yes, if you’re traveling the opposite direction than people expect you to be traveling, you are less safe. You are, however, still operating your bicycle within the law.

    maxadders (#8) – “is this safe for me” doesn’t cut it – you also have to be concerned with anyone else in or near the intersection you’re running. If you consider only your own safety, how are you in any way different from all the “jerks” on the road? Obviously, stopping for a red and running it when the intersection is clear because the sensor doesn’t see you, or because it’s 2am and no one is on the road is safe for everyone involved, but many other situations would be gray areas.

    Brot (#18) – agreed, but pedestrians in the Rose Quarter are a real problem – they don’t obey the laws, and they assume bikes are no danger to them (and usually they are correct), so they don’t hang back until the bikes pass like they would if a car was coming. I hope that PPD also enforces the laws against pedestrians in the Rose Quarter with the same zero-tolerance aspect they’re using against bikes, trucks and cars.

    Graham (#21) – well said.

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  • r October 17, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    re Brot 18 and Matt 29: while I realize that a pedestrian is supposed to cross only at a crosswalk and is supposed to cross a signalized crosswalk only with the signal . . .

    as a practical matter, a pedestrian ought to have the right of way everywhere by default, and should be “given” the right of way even when s/he is jaywalking.

    not making any similar or analogous claim for cyclists, though for my own protection I will ride outside the striped lane, even (or especially) where the “hazard” I am “avoiding” is on my left (i.e., taking the lane), and though I almost never jump a red light (except maybe at 2 a.m. on an empty street), it is completely reasonable to treat stop signs as “yield” signs and roll them unless there is an immediate conflict. (motorists do this all the time, and they are not positioned as well, set back behind the hood of the car and inside a box, to make the judgment.)

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  • Velo Vanguard October 17, 2008 at 3:24 pm

    “sidewalks don’t have direction in the law….but the point is still that people perceive ‘wrong way’ whether it’s legal or not…”

    So who needs to mature?

    Great job, Graham.

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  • toddistic October 17, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    I understand Sam’s perspective but have a hard time being sympathetic to his plight. We receive 1.5% funding for roads yet we account for over 4%. Maybe if Sam stopped viewing cyclists as a “great deal” and started allocating our fair share of the budget, including our own signals in dangerous intersections I would be more willing to give his request a bit more thought!

    You’ll always see me comply at an intersection with a bike signal or a bike box, other places, its a toss up, I’ve got aggressive drivers who are pointing their cars into me who act agressively. These drivers, rarely cited get a slap on the wrist for what could be a death sentence for me.

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  • joe October 17, 2008 at 3:57 pm

    this is a good decision and has brought up some good points.

    as far as soon to be mayor sam goes – I like the guy, I voted for him but I think that his desire to be a great politician and say the PC thing and become a senator/governor will outweigh his desire to do much that is right for the city. he seems to be of a lot of hat and few cattle.

    on the positive side, I think this year has seen fewer bike accidents and fatalities than we have seen in a while.

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  • M8Adam October 17, 2008 at 4:36 pm

    So… Here’s the thing. I watch cars do illegal sh*t all day long. Illegal turns, running lights, cutting off cars and cyclists, blocking intersections, blocking lanes and bike lanes, speeding, wrong way down a one way, etc… ALL DAY, EVERY DAY! Furthermore, I watch PEDESTRIANS do equally illegal and stupid things all day as well. crossing against a signal, outside a crosswalk, running in front of traffic, etc.

    To be honest, while cyclists do run red lights and stop signs, they almost always look before doing so, and… that’s pretty much the only laws I ever see them break… oh, and riding on the sidewalk.

    I understand people wanting us to obey the law too, but why the f*ck are we becoming the enforcement priority here? There’s a MUCH larger issue with cars driving illegally/obliviously than with bikes or pedestrians. Let’s get our priorities straight!

    I don’t run lights habitually, but I do when there’s no traffic and it will actually get me to my destination quicker. And I, for one, am not going to stop until I stop seeing drivers acting like idiots on a daily basis.

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  • matt picio October 17, 2008 at 4:38 pm

    r (#30) – re: pedestrians ought to have the right of way everywhere by default. On what basis? Why do pedestrians warrant top priority of travel in all circumstances, and how do you expect any other mode to be able to go anywhere if any pedestrian can cross a street at any time, regardless of circumstance, and requiring all other traffic to stop?

    The law requires us all to share the public right-of-way, and part of sharing means that no mode can have priority over all other modes in every circumstance.

    Regarding treating stop signs as yields – how do you define “immediate conflict”? what speed do you consider to be safe when rolling through the intersection? For all those who support the “stop signs as yield” law, ask yourself this question – why do we have stop signs at all? And on what basis should bikes be able to treat them as yield signs? Visibility? If visibility is the case, then why shouldn’t motorcyclists be able to likewise treat them as yields?

    (I’m not saying I’m against “Idaho” stops, I’m just saying – what is the basis to implement them? If there is no basis, then the legislature is unlikely to approve such a bill)

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  • tr October 17, 2008 at 4:57 pm

    People are going to ride how they’re going to ride. All the green paint in the world isn’t going to change someone’s personality. If you follow the rules great that probably works out for you. If you make your own rules fine, that might work out for a while too.

    But, I don’t like the tone Adams is taking. It’s like a parent giving a kid something but then threatening to take it away if they don’t behave.

    Multimodal infrastructure improvements are not a “gift” to one specific kind of road user (bikers/cyclists) they benefit ALL road users.

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  • Val October 17, 2008 at 5:21 pm

    To repeat: when safety advocates and law enforcement agencies shift the focus of their efforts from the most vulnerable road users and begin to concentrate on the most harmful, we will begin to see an actual increase in road safety.

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  • Greg October 17, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Matt (#35) – Cyclists have two advantages that make the Idaho yield law work:

    1) they are generally slower than motorized traffic
    2) they can see better

    that’s why the Idaho law works. And the sooner it can be enacted the better. Having stupid laws reduces respect for the law in general.

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  • Matthew Denton October 17, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    Poser #23
    And yet I’ve certainly never been at a social gathering in Portland and heard a group of people get frothy at the mouth about “those damn scofflaw speeders”

    I haven’t heard the word “scofflaw” from anyone but Terry Parker (and people quoting him,) but yes, “Those damn speeders” is a topic that regularly comes up at my neighborhood association meetings, not so much from the cyclists, (although, I’ve seen more than half the board on a bicycle at one time or another,) but from the parents…

    And, in general, treat pedestrians with respect. Most of the people that are healthy enough to jaywalk in the Rose Quarter are potential transportation cyclists: They aren’t usually rich and already spend more time traveling than most car drivers, so a bicycle really would be an “upgrade” for many of them.

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  • Graham October 17, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    #23 poser:

    “The American marketing machine has hammered into all of us since birth that cars = freedom. It’s like we’re completely unable to think about automobiles in any other way.”

    Very true. I’d also add that simply living the way most Americans do – in residential-only suburbs, far from schools, stores, and jobs – makes driving cars essential for most people. I think this is partially what’s behind the sense of entitlement that comes with driving, especially when cars come into conflict with cyclists, or cycling infrastructure. (That, and some primitive, lizard-brain, might-makes-right instinct.) Basically, for most Americans, no car = screwed, so anything that gets in the way of driving is cause for great plumes of righteous indignation. I grew up in a spread-out place that made it so you pretty much needed a car to get around, and experienced this particular brand of road rage many times.

    #29 matt, #31 Velo – thank you!

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  • sad October 17, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    This morning I had an epiphany about the whole car vs bikes, scofflaw cyclists vs the world thing – I think it comes down to how we, meaning each one of us as an individual, expects a certain amount of respect for our own well-being from others, and rightfully expects that others will have the common decency to not be self-absorbed in their own world while neglecting ours. I came to this conclusion as I watched a guy on a bike zip through the intersection at NW 11th and Couch this morning. He and a car were traveling south on 11th and approached the stop sign at Couch. They were side by side, each occupying a lane, but when the car slowed and stopped for the stop sign, the cyclist increased his speed through the intersection, narrowly avoiding pedestrians who were crossing the street, and then proceeded to flick them off. And I suddenly realized that it’s wasn’t the rider’s attitude, the dangerous position that he was putting himself into or even the breaking of the law that pissed me off; what I felt as the source of my frustration was the fact that the rider thought only of himself. And then I realized that’s what always frustrates me, no matter whether its a cyclist or a motorist breaking the law – you break the law, run stoplights and stop signs, break speed limits, etc because that’s what you want to do, and you don’t care about anybody else, as though you are the only important variable in the situation.

    Be courteous to everyone – to other cyclists, to pedestrians and to drivers. Take some responsibility for your actions, and have some respect for the well-being of others. If we want respect, we need to start showing it to others.

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  • Drewid October 17, 2008 at 8:19 pm

    Adams is misguided. When you separate people by their current transportation choice it creates a window for discrimination. A person on a bike is that, and nothing more. I do not represent the bike community when I bike. Nor do I represent the motorist community when I drive. Picture that scofflaw bicyclist as a motorist, because you can be assured that he drives a car as well.

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  • Randy October 17, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    This is a good start. Portland also needs keep what is left of it’s clean air clean. On any given day there are dozens of idling vehicles in downtown Portland. This is unhealthy for pedestrians and cyclists. We’ll know we are Bike City USA when there are more bike parking garages and less idling vehicles.

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  • matt picio October 17, 2008 at 11:53 pm

    Greg (#38) – Slower how? Most of these stop signs are on roads with 25mph speed limits, and in theory everyone is slowing to under 5mph when they approach an intersection with a stop sign. As for reason #2, as I stated in the prior post, why wouldn’t that work for motorcycles? They have the same visibility bicycles do.

    Another reason that the Idaho law might not work well is that some intersections have poor visibility no matter what conveyance you use – it’s not a matter of sight blockage by the vehicle but by the terrain. Some of these intersections warrant a stop sign, and an Idaho-style law would remove that distinction.

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  • Patrick October 17, 2008 at 11:56 pm

    I honestly think Sam was speaking a little less broadly than folks here have interpreted the comment. Gaining access in the Rose Quarter came after some negotiation and the location has a high concentration of buses and peds. Being esecially respectful of the law in that area shows TriMet was right to change their policies.

    At a broader level, I still strongly believe (and think Sam does too) that there’s a big difference between blowing through a signal or stop sign at top speed and carefully proceeding through when you don’t have the ROW but no other users are present or would be endangered by your actions.

    Conveying that distinction to the broader public, though, is a challenge.

    However, the incidents late this summer show the challenge of trying to enforce any code of conduct on fellow road users. Better to lead by example (enforce on yourself) than critique (enforce by yourself).

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  • Nature Boy October 18, 2008 at 5:37 am

    On the way from my house in NE to SE, I have to cross three medium-major roads Killingsworth, Alberta, and Freemont. On average, due to vehicle drivers instincts that they must get as close to a red light as fast as they possibly can, I spend three minutes trapped trying to cross Killingsworth three minutes on Alberta, and two on Freemont. That’s an average of eight minutes added on to my commute at those streets alone. When I’m on my way to and from work, I cross MLK and Interstate, normally at a cross walk between lighted intersections and not a single car stops(including police cars) as they are required to do by law I lose time, precious time. When I signal that I need to get over to a left turn lane and no one stops to let me over, forcing me to miss my turn I lose time. So when I pull up to a stop sign or red light with no traffic whatsoever and continue on through, I don’t feel bad. Or when I take a right turn onto Broadway without stopping into a bike lane I don’t feel bad, especially since I’m turning into a bike lane that doesn’t get crossed by traffic or people cutting over to park. I safely break these “laws” every day with no remorse or concern over the semantics of right and wrong. I am not an agressive cyclist and gladly give a boyscout salute to vehicle drivers who give the right of way or have the right of way. My actions pose no danger to myself or anyone else, and I will continue them regardless of PC opinions of the BTA, the mayor elect, the police or you.

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  • Nature Boy October 18, 2008 at 5:40 am

    Oh and remember, please be safe on the roads.

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  • Coyote October 18, 2008 at 8:32 am

    Referring to the “bicycle community” is a car-headed term. There is just community, some of which have chosen to travel by car. To accommodate that portion of the community that has chosen this mode of transport, we have invested billions in infrastructure and layers of social control that are unprecedented in the history of the world. We have rendered a large portion of our city inaccessible and unusable to community members who through class distinctions, age, infirmity, or personal choice are not driving.

    The reason you have so many scofflaw cyclists is because bicycles simply do not require the level of social control that cars do to operate safely. Burr’s right, there is no wrong way on a sidewalk. The only reason is a perception of a direction on a sidewalk is because we segregated public space to accommodate the “car community”.

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  • matt picio October 18, 2008 at 12:53 pm

    Coyote (#48) – exactly, and many motorists use “wrong way” to justify failing to look to their right when making right turns onto a street, and then claim that they didn’t see the cyclist or pedestrian and that “they came out of nowhere”.

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  • Aaron October 18, 2008 at 1:04 pm

    Very well written Jonathan! :-) Also a great counterpoint to the previous article.
    “I suppose there should be no more roads built until cars stop speeding as well.
    No more truck licenses granted until right hooks stop.”
    Also well said. Because we’re outnumbered, there are millions decrying the funds for cyclists who break the law. But the fact is that everyone breaks the law the same amount (there was an newspaper which counted the number of cars & bikes running a stopsign and they were equal). The problem is that speeding is harder to prove than red-light running.

    “I think it’s silly when people– politicians, advocates, blog commenters– allude to this “community” that only exists for people that are 1) aware of such a thing and 2) actively agreeing and participating in this thing.”

    This is an important point. Most of the people who are reading this already show care when riding (I hope). But the people who regularly cycle in Portland are much more numerous than the ‘bicycling community.’ Some just happen to lose a license or have no $$ so they bike.

    People will take care of themselves, first and foremost. Next time I run a red light I’m not going to think about how it might impact the public (read: anti-bike auto drivers) perception of cyclists. I’m going to be asking the much more important “is this safe for me?”

    Matt’s response to this was great. But I agree that we all slip through at some point and there are times when it’s just for convenience and there are times when this is for safety. (#46)

    Graham #21 I really like what you have to say. This should be repeated to Sam and all local politicians.

    “as a practical matter, a pedestrian ought to have the right of way everywhere by default, and should be “given” the right of way even when s/he is jaywalking.”

    this can’t be repeated enough. If you’ve ever been upset by a car endangering you, than you know how pedestrians feel when a cyclist blows by or doesn’t let you cross. I think we should follow the same standard developed for trails (replacing horse with car), cars should always give the right of way to cyclists and pedestrians when it’s safe to do so and cyclists should always give way to pedestrians when it’s safe to do so.
    The only time I don’t stop for pedestrians is when I’m going at speed and there’s a green light for me or there’s lots of traffic behind.
    Thanks for listening

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  • Paul Tay October 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Traffic Control: A Self-Defeatist Exercise

    The traffic control system in force today was put together in the early days of the automobile by public officials who knew little about regulating this new means of locomotion. Contemporary
    writings describe how traffic laws were adopted without prior research on the basis of personal opinion. “The fallacy has been to cram ‘good medicine’ down people’s throat because the ’experts’
    thought it was good for them,” wrote Judge Edward G. Fisher in his Vehicle Traffic Law.

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  • Paul Tay October 18, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    How to do Traffic Control, WITHOUT Traffic Controls

    While battles rage here in New York City over signs and markings and the segregation of the public right-of-way for different types of users, yet another Northern European town is ditching its traffic control devices altogether. Spiegel reports that as of September 12, the German town of Bohmte, will be all “shared space.” Rather than being governed by impersonal traffic signals, motorists, pedestrians and cyclists will have to make eye contact to ensure that they don’t crash into each other.

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  • Christopher Lee October 18, 2008 at 4:49 pm

    re: resident

    thank you! i had a pretty tough work commute recently that took me throug an industrial district along some major streets. one light in particular i waited at for ten minutes (i keep my cellphone in a jersey pocket, i was counting) because nothing triggered it but a car (not even the crosswalk sign changed after multiple times hitting it). it is clear that every major city in america has built itself around motorists and bikes don’t operate the same way nor do they have the mass of steel needed to trigger a light.
    you ever get stuck at the front of an intersection with a line of cars behind you? even knowing the lights about to change i’ll run those reds to get a head start on the queue of impatience behind me because last thing i want is some jerk in a truck to start honking or squeeze me in to some where i don’t want to be.
    i will violate any law i have to in order to protect myself and stay some what on par with motorist commute times. i always think of the safety of pedestrians and other cyclists. i never do anything without thinking about it first and what could happen, worst case scenario.

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  • r October 18, 2008 at 7:10 pm

    belatedly responding to matt 35. a pedestrian is just a person walking on the earth. everybody else is operating a machine that creates some level of threat to a person just walking on the earth. let a person walk, jeez.

    as far as the idaho stop, obviously a (sensible) cyclist slows ‘way down when approaching an intersection, especially an intersection through which s/he does not have the right of way. let’s say maybe five mph. then you scope out the situation. if it is clear, you roll. why make a religion out of unclipping and putting a foot down when there is no practical reason to do so. if there is not a clear view, the decision to roll is delayed until you can see what is what. if something emerges, you are going slow enough you can quickly stop.

    that having been said, I cannot understand why anyone rolls Flint onto Broadway — and this is an intersection I go through several times a week.

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  • Travis Wittwer October 18, 2008 at 7:45 pm

    Generally speaking, the words of Adams are great. I ride both cars and bikes (I have not shunned the car completely), but bikes are my main mode and what I enjoy. I think this gives me a bit of an ability to see through both sets of eyes–car and bike. And I agree with Adams and Maus, if we want more for bikes, we need to receive with politeness.

    It will be hard to convince a city to spend more on anything bikey if bikes have left a bad taste in the mouths of its citizens.

    However, there is another way if bicyclists do not want to partner up with the city and be responsible for bike culture: bicyclist can be as alternative and grumpy as they want; break as many rules as they want; continue to wear black at night without lights; and live without anything more from the city or its citizens or the support of the law.

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  • Travis Wittwer October 18, 2008 at 7:53 pm

    Oh, and to that female bicyclist that rode up to my car and hit my car hood three times with her fist, that was not a wise “bike” move. For me, I bike so I pushed it off. However, if I was someone else, that could have left a lasting memory, especially if you were considered “in the wrong”.

    *I was pulling out of a driveway to enter into traffic; bicyclist was a block down, noticed; I did not enter full into traffic (due to a last minute lane change by a car) so I paused in the middle of the sidewalk rather than backing up and over the car behind me; bicyclist rode up to my car, hit it three times, and with a mean face, moved on, by going out into the road with on-coming traffic. The interesting thing here is that she was biking on the sidewalk, on a street with a bike lane, and had she used the bike lane, it would not have even been the correct side on which to bike.

    Riding in the street, in the bike lane, on the correct side could have helped her. Waiting 10 seconds until I pulled out of the way could have helped her.

    I find motorists, overall, extremely polite and careful of my family (5 of us) when we bike, and every day on my commute, I see great motorist decisions.

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  • Icarus Faling October 18, 2008 at 9:40 pm

    I need to begin a Citizen Initiated Citation, targeting two people, Sam Adams and Fred Hanson.

    I have beautiful pictures of these two riding side by side, showing blatant disregard for the red light signal at the Rose Quarter, ironically on the Palm Greasing first “legal” ride, just after going through the “ribbon”.

    OH the irony.

    And just after they both ran the red light (runing means not even stopping to see that it is clear, this is what happened), Sam makes a big public statement against the exact action he and the head of Tri Met had just pulled.

    Of course, what do you expect from a politician?

    I expect an apology….As well should the rest of you.

    Said pics to be posted on my blog soon.
    Take and eat….

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  • wsbob October 18, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    Travis, I appreciate your viewpoint on the need for people riding bikes to be a bit more accountable in balancing their needs with those of other people(using different modes of transportation than bikes) that they share the road with.

    Both sides of the spectrum, operators of bikes and motor vehicles, need to develop a better understanding of adjustments that need to be made as a means of enabling all to use the road compatibly. This is something that a lot of people seem to have difficulty recognizing.

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  • metal cowboy October 19, 2008 at 2:54 pm

    About the part of Sam’s statement that calls for the bike community to do some self policing – I hope this meant each of us checking out own behavior on a bicycle, and not calling for us to tell each other how to behave when we are out in the lanes together. Telling each other the rules of the road, sometimes with hand gestures and raised voices, ends badly – as much as I want to call my fellow cyclists on bone headed moves, I rub the budha, take a cleansing breath, then lead by example.

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  • matt picio October 19, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    r (#54) – Everybody else is a person, who has just as much right to be out there as the pedestrian. As a practical matter, pedestrians can’t have the right of way in all situations. Pedestrians have to have a set of responsibilities just like every other mode, or the system doesn’t work. There are too many people out there now for it to be otherwise. It sucks, but that’s the way it is – we all have to make sacrifices, even those of us who choose not to use any machine.

    Travis (#55) – “live without … support of the law”. Punish them all because some misbehave? (or even if “most” misbehave?) Sorry, we can’t do that. Even when the other guy is being a jerk, we can’t punish a third person just because they use the same transportation mode. Are Tri-Met drivers responsible for the city’s “bus culture”?

    I totally agree that people in general and operators (motorists, cyclists, bus drivers) in particular should be more responsible, more aware of their surroundings, less aggressive and less belligerent. But if some (or even most) of them aren’t, then we can’t punish everyone because of it.

    Personally, I think that society places too much emphasis on individual rights over communal responsibilities, and I think many individuals have taken that perspective to heart and internalized it into their lives. We can’t control other people’s thoughts nor their behavior. We can try to educate, we can try to enforce, but we can’t MAKE them behave a particular way – only encourage or discourage. I don’t agree that everyone should be punished for the misbehavior of some.

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  • Sarah O October 19, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    Last week I was on my bike at a T-shaped intersection at Stark, needing to make a left turn to cross. Traffic was fairly heavy and I waited about a minute before seeing an opening from the left. I moved a little out into the street to see around some parked cars to the right, and a line of cars was approaching from the right. The first car in line, a woman in a hatchback, was startled by seeing me nose into the roadway and screeched to a halt, waving me through. As I turned, the two cars behind her got into a rear-end collision, which is what happens when cars train together closely at high rates of speed.

    The woman drove off and I stopped to see if everyone involved in the accident was okay. The man who got rear-ended called me over, as a witness I imagined, but when I approached him he identified himself as an off-duty police officer. He got in my face and said “You need to give me your ID because you caused this accident when you blew through that stop sign and rode into traffic.”

    I was shocked and appalled that this man assumed I had done so. I was immediately put on the defensive and began to explain what had really happened, while he stood there and shook his head, making it apparent that he did not believe me. Instead of blaming the other two drivers – the one who stopped unexpectedly AND the one who actually hit him – he chose to make the assumption that I was the one who had acted irresponsibly (even though I was the one to stop and see if everyone was all right!).

    This is the legacy that people who run lights and stops leave most drivers with. This cop was a jerk and treated me poorly, and he wasn’t even Portland PD (he was Aurora). To some drivers, cyclists will always be at fault, because they see poor behavior. In this case I took the brunt of that negative stereotype and I can only hope I don’t get dragged into court because of this.

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  • wsbob October 19, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    Sarah, sounds like a very distressing experience. I’d say that before you reveal too much in the public forum, you’d better sit down, carefully write out your story and read it back to yourself until you’re sure it describes as closely as possible what you noted to have happened in this incident. In my read of your comment, there’s too many points of uncertainty.

    The off-duty police officer at the least, sounds audacious. There he is, behind the driver that stopped abruptly, probably couldn’t even see you because of the parked cars to your right, yet he thinks he’s seen enough to be sure that you caused the accident. I don’t think it matters anyway. It’s the responsibility of people following each other to leave enough of a margin between each other’s cars (bikes or whatever mode of transportation) to make emergency stops. He was able to stop, but the driver behind him wasn’t. Seems like the problem here is that of the driver that couldn’t stop.

    Might be worth going to court just to hear how the judge reacts when the Aurora police officer tries to tell this tale.

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  • jim October 19, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    There’s allways going to be the anti-law type element that gives bikes a bad name. Some of them arn’t allowed to drive but there are no laws forbiding them to bike. Like this example http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsCtEY27lVo . I am constantly iratated by bonehead moves that both bikes and cars make when I am driving about

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  • David Feldman October 20, 2008 at 8:09 am

    It’s too bad SA has to mention this–is it so fucking hard for cyclists to obey traffic laws, put at least a front brake on a single speed, use lights at night, and for Christ’s sake wear some bright colors instead of earth-toned “lemmingwear?”

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  • Icarus Falling October 20, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    Bright colors are bad for the environment.

    I hear they also wreak havoc on the ozone layer.

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  • Icarus Falling October 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    That accident would be the fault of the man who was following too close. And in this case it would be the fault of the off duty policeman, as he was the one following too close.

    He obviously knew this, and easily shifted blame to you.

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  • whyat October 20, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    I am a little bit tired of the attitude ‘I’m on a bike, I’m smaller than a car, I can do no serious damage, so therefore it’s OK for me to break the law’. This is such an ill thought selfish mentality.

    I was almost hit by a car this summer who had to swerve out of the way to avoid a westbound biker blowing through the intersection of SE 26th and Clinton. The car clearly had the right of way and was trying to safely avoid hitting anyone but still almost hit me and another biker.

    The fact that your bike is smaller than a car doesn’t mean it can’t cause unpredictable and dangerous situations if ridden unpredictably.

    It also doesn’t help the bike community when a citizen sees a cyclist breaking a law and then comes to this site and sees posts like maxadders #8 saying ‘I’m going to be asking the much more important “is this safe for me?”‘.

    I’ve personally never been part of an online community (be it cars or tech or snowboarding or bikes) that has so many members that could care less about ANYONE but themselves. Don’t get me wrong, the overwhelming majority of posters on BP.org are thoughtful concerned citizens. I think it sucks, though, that anytime the subject of ‘rules’ comes up there is such a vocal group of people that are so selfish in their own behavior. Any other online group I’ve belonged to ‘p0wns’ members who display that sort of behavior. BP.org is sadly the one online community I’ve been involved with that accepts selfish prickish as a normal and acceptable.

    I’m also not condoning drivers who break the law. Yes, there are a lot of drivers who break the law. Yes, it’s bad, but I don’t see though how I can justify breaking the law if I am upset when other people break the law. Any driver can use the same argument of ‘Why should a care about traffic laws when I see cyclists breaking the law all the time?’. It’s the same thankless mentality and it ultimately puts everyone in danger. I’m not trying to lecture anyone. I just think we’d all be better off if we could try to look at our own behavior through someone else’s eyes.

    Finally, Johnathon, I take issue with your quote that ‘we have a system that is woefully inequitable for bike riders’. Clearly there are things that could easily improved, but I think we Portlanders sometimes forget just how good a system we actually have. I’ve ridden in other cities and we are a whole lot more fortunate than the rest of the nation. That doesn’t mean we should not try to improve it, but let’s not lose site of the facilities we do have.

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  • BURR October 20, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    whats more sarah o, is that the prejudice and bias against cyclists in the media, in law enforcement, in the justice system and among the general public, exists regardless of how cyclists themselves behave (which on the whole is no worse than how motorists behave), and I’ve seen other sources such as Robert Hurst quoted as saying that PDX has the most law abiding cyclists in the US.

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  • beanpdx October 21, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    I think more cyclists would stop at stop signs if the city provided an attractive person, (of each rider’s persuasion) to give a push start to each cyclist as they started back up from the stop. Problem solved, and probably cheaper than cops sitting at stop signs all day. Just think of how many car-converts we would get!!

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  • Icarus Falling October 21, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    Don’t any of you see the horrible irony that Sam Adams will publicly call for stronger enforcement of red light laws regarding cyclists, when he does not stop for them himself, especially while watched by police, Tri Met officials, and Wackenhut drones?

    It pisses me the hell off.

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  • Anon October 21, 2008 at 5:36 pm

    It’s possible since this was a ceremonial situation that the road was temporarily closed, with those police there making sure the mayor-elect was safe in crossing the street against the light. Just sayin’.

    Now if you catch him doing it “in the wild” I think you’ve got a better gripe.

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  • Pete October 21, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    whyat (#67): thanks for saving me from typing! Hear hear!

    maxadders (#8): debates on “community” still drone on today, but by popular definition we are one, and we carry responsibilities with it. We are residents of Oregon and required to abide by its laws. Period.

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  • Icarus Falling October 21, 2008 at 8:13 pm

    The road was not at all closed by the way. It is the intersection the trains pass through, and was fully in use. I was standing right there. Everyone else in the parade, behind Sam and Fred, stopped and waited for the light.

    Unless you were standing right next to me, or somewhere near, you do no know what you were talking about…

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  • joe October 22, 2008 at 5:18 am

    if you see Adams breaking the law again while on bike, you can practice some of that self-policing on him.

    reminds me of something my grandpa used to say, “I see better than I hear”. probably best to ignore Adams’ words for awhile and just see what he actually does.

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  • hi_speed_tourist October 22, 2008 at 5:22 pm

    As a motorcyclist I ride when I have a chance

    As a motorist I drive about 7,ooo miles a year

    As a boater Im on the river every chance I get

    As a cyclist I ride in most major rides I can and cover 2500 miles a year.

    I moved here 11 years ago for the cycling and the area’s liberal leanings. The longer Im here the more I am repulsed by the ethnocentric tendencies of each group I represent particularly the cyclists. What we have here in Portland is an overabundance of self righteous self promotors at the expense of everyone else. I see it all the time. You (we) are so spoiled. You live in arguably the best cycling city on the continent and yet you bicker like children “…constantly complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy”. Quite frankly some of you have even alienated cycling enthusiasts like myself. Like the idiot on Cycle Oregon who forces a farmer to wait behind him as he defiantly rides next to the double yellow in the middle of nowhere. What the hell kind of logic is this? I see this kind of crap all the time. “Share the road” We dont need all kinds of signs and regulations just a little uncommon sense would solve most of this. What’s happening here in Portland is quite frightening. All this arguing and media hype (thank you Oregonian etc.) is helping to foster an extreme polarization of opposing groups. Its getting worse not better. All you complainers its time to rethink your approach. Its not working!!!

    Sam is a politician garnering votes. Like it or not. Photo ops may or may not co-op with traffic lights. In the big picture who fricken cares? He is out there attempting to promote your cause(s). So beat him up too. Cry babies.

    Metal Cowboy said it best #59

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  • Icarus Falling October 23, 2008 at 4:42 pm

    ” Photo ops may or may not co-op with traffic lights.”

    It would make sense that when riding into a photo op that you know will end with a statement of Zero Tolerance for Red Light Running, the person about to make said statement would have the sense to not run the red light with cameras staged at all four corners…

    Doing so is called “Not Thinking Properly”.
    And this was done by the person we elected mayor. And the man who runs our supposed “public transportation”.

    Maybe not the best choice after all?

    So “Who Fricking’ Cares” you ask?

    Me. And if more of you would look outside of the magic little bike bubble, you might care too.

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